Sadly, with Ace Frehley being my favorite (not a shock to most of you), many books and accounts paint him as a casualty of the rock n roll lifestyle and over the years his role in KISS-tory seems to be diminished.
So how excited do you think I was when I found out the Space Ace would be releasing his own book? Yes…very!!!!
‘No Regrets’ is the story of the guitarist, straight from the horse’s mouth. So much has been made of Ace’s issues with drugs, alcohol and his relationship with Gene Simmons that I couldn’t wait to hear his side of the story. In the 300 plus pages, Ace does a pretty good job assembling the stories that created the legend and does it with humor and a lot of humility. He has made some messes in his life; hurt relationships and smashed up cars, but you can read within the words there is humbleness. As a young kid (and musician) I was captivated by Ace’s burning the candle in the middle behavior and as my self destructive behavior began to take its toll on me, I used his miscues as a wake up call.
What I got out of the book that i didn't know before are the insecurities that Ace dealt with during the heyday of KISS and how they crippled him creatively and emotionally. When you read how he thrived under the positive direction of producer Eddie Kramer yet would fall apart and fail when working with taskmasters like Bob Ezrin, it makes you feel sad. Sad for what could have been if he was just treated a little differently. Not that Ace was an angel by any means and made good choices all the time, but he was a simple guy who was part of a Fortune 500 machine. He was a guitar player that made it a little bigger than he wanted too and was powerless to slow down the ride.
Ace showed a lot of restraint in his comments about Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and the entire KISS machine. I was waiting page after page for some serious attacks, but they weren’t there. Sure he commented on Gene’s womanizing, his lack of friends and his pursuit of money, but we already knew that.
I think the title ‘No Regret’ is a bit misleading. Within Ace’s words I could hear a lot of regrets. But I think the biggest regrets are from his fans including me. I know when I read the book all I could think about is the 'what ifs’? What if Ace was given a little more creative room in KISS? What if he was able to capitalize with the brilliant Frehley’s Comet? What if Gene and Paul listened to him when he said no to (Music From) The Elder?
An easy and excellent read and an absolute must read for KISS fans or for those who love to read a ‘rags to riches to rags to riches to sobriety’ story. Written with Joe Layden and John Ostrosky, ‘No Regret’ tells the stories we already knew, but gives you incite into the why they happened. But my favorite part of the book was reading the date September 15, 2006. That is Ace's sobriety date!
In case you were wondering, mine is April 15th, 1990!
Matman Rating – 5 out of 5 smokin’ guitars